I love my work, but finally I became eager to get a day off. I wanted to share it with my family
And I did.
After a splendid (royal – both in form and service) breakfast at the Gothic Cafe in Malbork Castle - we went for a drive into the heart of the LowLands…
We drove through Klecie (Klettendorf ), and then Kławki (Klakendorf) – where we saw the ruin of the once marvelous half-timbered porched house. It is outrageous and shamefull to everyone who cares (except of course the authorities, who are always self satisfied and in an excellent mood…). We stopped in Szaleniec (Tchőrichthof), where the Mennonite cemetery is sinking in high grass, and our next stop was Stalewo (Stalle) – the birthplace of eng. Eduard Wiebe (the maker of Gdansk’s sewage system) to admire the splendid half-timbered house built in 1751 by Georg Poeck; in vain we tried to find the protestant cemetery (another shame to the locals). Afterwards we drove through Zwierzno (Thiergart) – a village, like many other, founded by the Teutons in mid 14th century.
Markusy (Markushoff) welcomed us with some village Sunday rush. I shall always remember my first visit to this rather sleepy village – tracing the history of the Kroeker family. The history of Markushoff is very interesting: it was (as most of the villages here) founded by the Teutons in mid 14th century, and there was a mansion with a chapel here. In the late 16th century an agreement with Simon Bahr (a wealthy Gdansk burgher) was concluded, allowing him to settle the Dutch people. The Mennonites living in Markushoff belonged to the Frisian congregation of Jezioro (Thiensdorf). In 1791 a split in the congregation occurred – and it resulted in rise of an independent congregation with own house of worship. The congreagations united in 1888, and took the name Thiensdorf-Markushoff. Among the most popular Mennonite names here – were: Allert, Bastvader, Boll, Dau, Froes, Froese, Land, Harms, Holtzrichter, Jantzen, Lambert, Martens, Neysteter, Nickel, Pulse, Penner, Peters, Philipsen, Quiring, Ridiger, Schroetter, Siebert; In 1885, the village had 54 households, there were five large farms, 76 houses, inhabited by 689 Protestants and Catholics and 139 Mennonites (according to holland.org.pl).
Maybe they were not numerous here – but it is worth remembering what a great influence they had on the whole land ! Those words are especially worth reading by those in Poland – who not knowing the history of this land – are nowadays strongly rejecting the Mennonite impact on this land.
Coming back to our today’s trip – we drove through Żółwiniec (Wengelnwalde) which was founded only in the late 17th century by the Mennonites.
And then we finally stopped for a while in Raczki Elbląskie (Unterkerbswalde). It is famous today for being the lowest natural depression in Poland (-1,8 m). But in the medieval times the area of today’s Raczki was a forest – which belonged to the Teutonic castle in Elbing. Today the village is losing its historical character very quickly, and has nothing to offer, besides the land mark of the depressed land.
Emerging from the depression – we drove to the cemetery in Różewo (Rosenort)… The village was founded by the Dutch settlers in the late 16th century. And was one of the most important religious centers in the LowLands and exerted great influence on the lives of other centers and communities. In 1754 a first Mennonite church in the Vistula LowLands was built here. Today this cemetery – as most of the non-catholic ones – is in sad ruin.
However there is a group of young people (locals) who – wanting to repair what was destroyed by the new settlers after 1945 – are now trying to restore what still remains and what still can be restored. In many places they are doing a marvelous job (without any financement!).
As we did not have enough time to see everything we wanted – therefore I shall need another day off
Here is a GALLERY of photograhs I took enroute